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Some Thoughts on Dual Monitors

Interesting post and lots of comments on dual monitors from Randall Ryder and others at Lawyerist.com.  Mr. Ryder tried dual monitors and did not find it to be more productive.  This seemed like a good opportunity to share my own thoughts on dual monitors.

I moved to dual monitors about two and a half years ago when I started Krause Practice Management.  Honestly, I cannot imagine going back.  At one point, one of my (originally 17 inch widesreen) monitors stopped working.  After one day of being back to one monitor, I ordered two brand new 22 inch widescreens as replacements.

My typical dual monitor layout is to have Time Matters and Outlook on Monitor 1.  I rarely view them both at the same time, toggling between them when I need to.  On Monitor 2, I have everything else, which often includes Word, Excel, QuickBooks and ScanSnap Manager.  Internet Explorer may be up on either screen depending on which other application I am using with the Internet.  This setup allows me to use my two primary applications on Monitor 1 and reference others on Monitor 2.

Here are some of my personal tips to get the most out of dual monitors.  First, get two of the same monitor.  Not only does it look better, it is actually easier to move your eyes from one to the other.  I suppose it is because your eyes do not have to refocus to size, shape and picture quality.  Second, find monitors with the smallest side edge possible.  This minimizes the amount of space (and the inherent distraction) between the actual screens. Third, make sure you have a video card that can actually run two monitors.  Nothing is more annoying than the little glitches that can be caused by an underpowered card.  Finally, a simple monitor management program, Ultramon, provides a lot of nice dual monitor features.

My experience has certainly been different than Mr. Ryder’s.  Like many other things, I suspect that how much you like dual monitors will depend on a lot of factors such as the specific tasks you perform, how you organize your workday, etc.

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3 Responses

  1. Sam Glover says:

    Although I sympathize, I would much rather have one (really) big monitor than two. You get the same advantages as with two, and a few more, too.

  2. Jeff –

    Glad to hear it works for you! I think having same-sized monitors makes a big difference, along with having small edges on the monitors. Your post, along with many of the comments on Lawyerist, makes me think I made need to experiment more with 2 monitors.

  3. Kris Krol says:

    Guys,

    I have THREE monitors, and I love them. The only thing I’m considering doing differently is getting the Portrait-view add-on for my Gateway 19″ Widescreen HD monitor, which is the one in the middle and the one I view most PDFs on. It is essentially Monitor 2. Monitors 1 and 3, to both sides of 2, are Dell 15″ squares. I have Outlook and Word on 1 and PaperPort (my viewer for Scans) on 3.

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